#Pokemon20 and What I Miss Most from the Original Pokemon


Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise, and I for one am happy to see one of my favorite video game franchises thrive and improve to this day. With each generation of games, Pokemon has expanded its world view by drawing inspiration from cultures around the globe, taken advantage of newer technologies that help to connect players, and have refined themselves to be fun, accessible, and even a bit challenging once the human element comes into play. Although I think the games have evolved for the better, however, there is a certain experience I miss from the earliest days of Pokemon.

To celebrate, Nintendo is releasing the original Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow on Virtual Console (Japan gets Green as well). Yet, having it on virtual console means that new (and old) players won’t have that feeling of being able to instantly recognize a fellow Pokemon player.


I started with Pokemon Red myself. I would play everywhere while keeping an eye out for comrades. If I saw a bright red or blue cartridge sticking out the back of a Game Boy (often at this time the Game Boy Pocket), I would go up to them and ask if they wanted to trade or battle. The cartridges were beacons that drew Pokemon Trainers together, and sadly with the way that Nintendo’s portable devices have been designed over the past 15 years or so it’s not really possible anymore.

It’s not all Nintendo’s doing: I got older and I learned more and more about competitive Pokemon. I used to participate regularly on sites such as Smogon and its old school predecessor, Azure Heights. From there, I eventually became too aware of what it took to make a strong team. As time passed I found myself with less of a desire to create my perfect ideal team, leveled up to 100 with lots of synergy and strategy but also full of the Pokemon I like, and I stopped being eager to challenge people. Either that, or Stealth Rock is total BS and I wish it were removed from the game or was not so danged powerful (seriously!).

Maybe that’s the day this all changes. Maybe I can dive back into the intricacies of Pokemon. I mean, I do own a Pokemon XY 3DS so maybe I can use that as a calling card like the days of old. In the meantime, here’s a list of some of my favorite Pokemon blog posts throughout the years:

Shudou Takeshi, Pokemon, and Me

In Honor of Twitch Plays Pokemon Crystal

Random Thoughts on Twitch Plays Pokemon

A Form of Evolution Perhaps

The Beauty of Diantha

Pokemon Omega Ruby and My Fabulous Pageantry Adventure

Pokemon and Color

PS: Fun fact, I tried to find my original Pokemon Red…then remembered it got stolen out of my locker during gym class. Ah memories.

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From Mew to Arceus: A Discussion of Rare Pokemon Events and Beyond

The Pokemon Who is Also God is available at Toys “R” Us until November 15 this week, and I don’t know about you guys but I am totally gonna get me some divine Pockets Monster and then not use it at all because I haven’t actually played the game in forever. Nobie’s been out of the Pokemon gig for a while now.

As a result of the Arceus giveaway I’ve been thinking a lot about Pokemon as of late, and so if you’ll forgive me I’m going to ramble on while trying to touch on a number of points that I want to discuss.

Arceus is not the first rare pokemon I’ve obtained. I’ve gotten Darkrai and Deoxys through Toys “R” Us and Game Stop by bringing in my DS with my Pokemon Diamond and using Mystery Gift to get eggs from that one shop. However, I also went to the Pokemon Center back when it wasn’t called Nintendo World, and I was even there to get my official Mew for my Generation-1 Pokemon games, as well as at Six Flags to get my Celebi years later. I’ve been at this for a while.

The biggest difference between then and now, is that with the way event Pokemon get sent to you through the Mystery Gift function, you can totally get your Arceus without anyone noticing or wondering why you’re even there. This was not the case with getting that original Mew. You had to stand in a line with your game cartridge in hand while next to people of all ages (mostly kids, obviously) talking about Pokemon, and then you had give it to the Nintendo official who was wearing a bright Pokemon shirt so that they could use a machine to give you your Mew. In other words, there was no way to disguise the fact that you were a Pokemon fan. You had to accept it in order to get your Mew, or you were out of luck. Or you could just Gameshark it, but that’s another issue entirely.

I’m the kind of person who was never afraid to tell people I was into Pokemon, and keep in mind that I was into Pokemon starting in high school, so I was well beyond the target age. So what I liked about the Mew event was that you had to proudly show that you were a Pokemon fan, and while I can definitely say that the current way of obtaining event Pokemon is a lot more convenient for everyone, I do end up missing that aspect of camaraderie where you couldn’t hide in shame. And I’ve known people like that online and off, who were afraid to tell other people they were fans of Pokemon. They in many ways helped to inform my posts about having confidence in yourself as a fan of anime and such. It’s something I want people to come to terms with, no matter who they are.

Going back to the whole “people of all ages” thing, it’s really amazing how Pokemon is able to attract such a wide age group, and it’s a testament to the effectiveness of the game design and the supporting material. The game is easily playable by children 4 and under, and yet the battle system is one of the most robust and entertaining vs modes you will ever find in a video game. With currently almost 500 Pokemon available, 17 types, tons of attacks and items and more, it creates this intricate web of decisions and actions that you have to consider in order to make an effective Pokemon team. If it wasn’t obvious before, I’ll say it now: I love the strategy in Pokemon. Love, love, love it. It’s one of my favorite games of all time as a result, where I focus my efforts on trying to make Pokemon with lesser stats and abilities viable in competitive play while still maintaining what makes them unique. I’ve been a part of Azure Heights, Pokemon Daily, I used the Pokemon Battle Simulator, GSBots, Netbattle, Shoddy, and I even wrote some of the strategy sections on Smogon for some of the lesser-used Pokemon such as Noctowl and Sableye (though they are out of date), and was one of the first to suggest Yawn + U-Turn on Uxie. The only reason I don’t play it more now is that I know how easily it can draw me in.

And the best part is, if you don’t want to be a part of this insane world, you can ride on back to Pokemon just being about going out on adventures with your Pokemon friends and trading and having fun and ignoring all the number crunching that goes on. But if you do choose to stay? Why, there’s a whole plethora of options available to you. You can make a team according to your personality and what you think is important in a game, and you can still be competitive.

I know it can be a very daunting task to try to get into Pokemon multiplayer seeing as how there’s so much information. You’re supposed to memorize the fact that Steel is only weak to Ground, Fire, and Fighting, while also knowing that Ursaring has a very high attack stat. You’re supposed to at the very least know all 17 Pokemon types and most of the Pokemon out there. It’s a lot to commit to memory. But do you know who does commit it to memory? Kids. And they don’t do it by first going, “OKAY, I, GEORGE PEEPANTS, AM GOING TO BE A COMPETITIVE PLAYER.” No, they just absorb all of the media naturally. They learn everything about Pokemon because they love Pokemon, and that’s the true beauty of the Pokemon concept.

I know some people are of the belief that games shouldn’t require you to learn so much before you get to play. To that I say, first off you don’t actually need to know all this stuff to start playing against other people, it just increases your chances of winning. Secondly, I think you are rewarded much more richly for understanding the Pokemon system first. Sure, Pokemon is glorified Rock-Paper-Scissors (and Yu-Gi-Oh is glorified War, but that’s another topic for another day), but it’s that glorification that makes it the solid game that it is, and the complexity of the type chart is not something which people “just know.” And if you want to learn, just do what the kids do, and play.

Wow, are you still with me? In that case, let me share one of my favorite Pokemon to use with you. It’s designed primarily to annoy people who hate it when luck influences a match. I won’t go into stat distributions and what-not, so you can have the opportunity to see what works for you.

Registeel @Leftovers
Zap Cannon

Both Dynamicpunch and Zap Cannon have 50% accuracy, so you’re essentially fighting with coin flips, until you’ve had enough and you explode on somebody. Have fun with it, and watch as your opponents grow to hate you. You can use it in both the current generation and in the Advance line of games. If you want to apply it to Gold/Silver/Crystal, note that Ampharos can learn both Dynamicpunch and Zap Cannon.

So yeah, Pokemon.